New Cleveland head coach Eric Mangini spoke to the media at the Owners' Meetings this week and was asked questions about how to project a 4-3 defensive end to the 3-4 rush linebacker position. Many are projecting that the Browns, who finished last season tied for 31st in the NFL with only 17 sacks, will take Texas pass rusher Brian Orakpo.
Though Mangini is careful not to mention any player by name, his description of what he looks for reads like Orakpo's list of strengths."You'd like to be able to see on tape some ability to drop, whether it was in zone blitzes, whether it was peeling in coverage.
Like sometimes they'll have the end peel if the guy runs a wide route. You'd like to see some element of that. You' like to see how
stout they are at the point of attack and Athen try to project that to being in a two-point as opposed to a three-point stance. Big part
of that, too, is talking to the player and understanding what or being able to project that they can take that information …
Can they go from a stagnant position where they're getting calls to a position where the call can change two or three
times before the ball is even snapped. Fluidness in their hips, so you can see whether they can drop. I think all those things are key
Orakpo lined up at outside linebacker at times over the past two seasons when the Longhorns used a 3-4 scheme. In the second of
the four-part series I'm writing about Orakpo's Road to the NFL, he told me that the Browns, and coach Mangini, specifically, asked him
about the different responsibilities of the linebacker positions...
The quote is a far cry from acknowleding that the team is going to take Orakpo with the 5th pick, but considering the specifics of
Mangini's answer and the specific traits which separate Orakpo from some of the other top-rated pass rushers of this draft like Everette
Brown and Aaron Maybin, it may be further evidence of which direction the Browns are currently leaning...